Red Ochre is one of the oldest paints known by man. It was used by pre-historic man as a permanent type of paint and dye. Red Ochre is an earthen pigment that is comprised of red iron oxide. Red Ochre was used from pre-historic times and was in continuous use through history up until the modern day and we still use it. Cinnini in his book “Il Libro dell’Arte” says that “It stands working up very well; for the more it is worked up, the finer it becomes.”
Well, if pre-historic mankind can make it and use it and you can’t overwork it, I might just have a chance at doing it right.
Lighting isn’t very good in this picture but that is red dirt from the side of the road.
Then you add water to the dirt:
Someday I may own a palette knife but for now I will use something else.
Don’t expect a lot from the first milling. And yes, it is a noisy process:
Repeat these two steps until you have the desired consistency. The longer you do this for the more likely you will need to add more water to the mixture as it will dry out while working it.
Between each milling step you will scrape it back to the middle and you will start to notice changes in the consistency. You’re beginning to turn it into something you want to paint with:
When you get near the end you will be able to hear and feel the difference. Remember you can’t over work this product so when in doubt, mill it some more.
I also made ink the night before so my hands still have left-over ink stains on them.
If you are looking for authentic medieval and renaissance holders for your pigments shells are a very good choice. Keep to the shells from the place and time as much as possible if you want increase authenticity.